How to Get Your Home Ready to Sell with Kids
Selling a property is a daunting experience for anyone, but perhaps even more so for young families.
As parents, along with the real estate agents helping them to sell, concern themselves with the many aspects of the selling process, children prepare for a new life, too – and this process isn’t always something they enjoy.
If you are planning to sell your home soon, and are concerned about how having kids might complicate the process, rest assured: Perfect Agent has your definitive guide.
Start By Getting Rid of Your Kids’ Clutter
Staging the home is the first step towards allowing potential buyers to imagine themselves in the space – something that is key when it comes to convincing them to purchase the property.
Real estate agents know that this is important, and will advise home sellers to start by getting rid of clutter around the house. You want to exhibit a clean, neutral space, which allows prospective buyers to imagine their own families living in the house. This means putting away sentimental items and family photos that may detract from the buyer’s experience of the home.
It goes without saying that this will also entail tidying up the kids’ space, and moving toys and knick-knacks to a central area (preferably out of view) in the home. It simply makes practical sense to remove the action figures and Legos from the buyers’ path – few things leave as bad a taste in the mouth as spraining one’s ankle while viewing a property.
Before your house goes on show, you’d do well to undertake a thorough spring-cleaning expedition – you’ll be grateful you’d sorted out a lot of the packing when the time comes to move to a new property. With regards to the kids’ toys and belongings, sort everything into three piles: “keep”, “donate” and “toss”. Let your kids have a hand in deciding which of their things deserve to stay and what items will better serve someone else.
This exercise in de-cluttering will also serve you well when you get rid of the clutter in the rest of the house. Don’t underestimate the influence of tidying up: this lets your property truly speak for itself – and potential buyers are sure to listen.
What to Do When the Kids See You Packing
Your own experience of reducing your belongings should make you realise how attached we can become to objects throughout our lives. Especially at a young age, belongings hold special meaning in children’s lives, and getting rid of things may not be something they enjoy doing.
There are ways to set the children’s minds at ease when they see you sorting and packing their things. First off, they’ll feel better about de-cluttering when they have a say in what stays and what goes. Both you and your child know which toys are their favourites and which ones they haven’t touched in months – explain that these items will be donated to someone who hasn’t had the pleasure of playing with these toys, and that they will be put to better use elsewhere.
Try to make your children understand that the reason they have to get rid of some things is that something exciting is on the horizon. A brand-new house where they’ll have a new room to put their things requires them to get rid of some old things – but this is a small price to pay.
Teaching children to let go of things is an important life lesson, as is showing them how to share and care about other people. And it will certainly help to make your property seem more appealing to other families looking for a change.
To be perfectly blunt about it, children are really quite gross. Of course it’s in their nature to explore the world in their own way – this sometimes means dragging filth through the entire house in the name of research, or licking every surface to gauge its taste in the bigger scheme of things.
Because children may not put as high a price on general hygienic practices as the rest of us do (which is entirely okay – it prepares their tiny immune systems for the onslaught of kindergarten) you will need to deep-clean the entire house before staging it, and before it goes on show.
Taking a top-to-bottom approach to cleaning your house is perhaps the best game plan here. Start with the ceilings – you’re bound to find a handful of baby food or noodles from years ago stuck just above where the baby seat used to be. Wash the walls of your entire home. Unfortunately that means the sentimental height measurements on the wall also need to be washed off or painted over.
Thoroughly deep-clean the bathroom and kitchen, making sure to remove the bath toys and put them away before buyers come to see the property. Wash scuff and crayon marks off walls and floors, and don’t forget to clean the chalk marks off the outside paving.
Paint Over Kid-Themed Walls
There’s a lot to be said about the psychological effects of colours on prospective buyers, and while neutral colours like beiges and other shades of white seem to illicit favourable reactions from people looking to purchase a property, there is certainly consensus that outrageous and bright colours generally don’t appeal to people viewing a property.
It makes sense, then, that themed walls in children’s rooms, adorned with brightly coloured cartoon characters or scenes from fairy tales may not be as quaint to potential buyers as they are to you and to your kids.
When repainting the rooms in your house before buyers start coming to view the property, opt for colours from a neutral palette. Remember to paint over height measurements and to take special care in covering any art projects that your kids may have left somewhere, à la Banksy.
Replace carpets and refinish floors
Especially when buyers know that sellers have children, carpets can be a huge turn-off, even when they have been steam-cleaned. Real estate agents usually advise sellers about renovations and repairs that will add value to the home, and in this regard, they might recommend that sellers consider remove and replace old carpeting before a sale. This allows sellers to set their own price point, instead of letting buyers request what kind of carpeting they’d prefer it be replaced with. If it is at all possible to remove the carpets and replace them with new flooring, either wooden or tiled, even better – this will most probably add value to the property immediately.
With regards to wooden floor and tiles, make sure you thoroughly clean these before buyers come to see the property. Wooden floors don’t necessarily need to be completely refinished – unless, of course, they’re looking worse for wear after years of roller-skates, tricycles and baby walkers. Depending on the condition of hardwood floors, they may just need a good scrub and condition to restore their former glory.
Ask your real estate agent about both large and small renovations that can make your home sell at a higher price – you may be surprised at just how much of a difference these can make.
Stage the home
Having children in the house in the run-up to showings can prove a challenge to many families. It’s all good and well that your home hasn’t been cleaner or tidier in years, but keeping it that way is the difficult part.
Speak to your children and explain that cleaning as they go helps you to be ready for the instance prospective buyers come to view the property. The whole family will need to chip in to keep things neat, and it’ll be a lot easier to manage the entire process if the kids are also on board.
When your agent and the property photographer come to take pictures of your property for online and print listings, try to organise things so the children aren’t at home. Ask their grandparents to take them off your hands for the day or organise a play date, but make sure that your real estate agent has the chance to put your property in the very best light without distractions or unexpected messes.
Your real estate agent will probably mention this when discussing the open house, but it is always better that both you and your kids aren’t at home when potential buyers come around. This lets your agent highlight the best features of your property in a quiet atmosphere without disturbances.
Real estate agents are valuable assets in the selling process in many ways, but chiefly act as objective marketers who focus on making a property seem most appealing to potential buyers. This takes the pressure off of you, and you can return the favour by trusting real estate agents to do what you are paying them to do without being around.
How to Help Your Kids Cope With the Sale
Time after time, psychologists point out that moving to a different house can be one of the most stressful experiences in any person’s life. This is also the case for children, who also experience a sense of loss when relocating. If this is the home they grew up in, children can be very upset by the prospect of moving, lamenting the many experiences they’ve had in the home, and dreading the thought of having to make new friends or even go to an entirely new school.
You can make the process of moving easier on your children by being upfront and honest about everything that is happening, while assuring them that change is an essential part of life, and that it helps us to grow and become better.
While they are allowed to mourn their childhood home, children are especially adaptable, and it will ultimately probably take them less time to become used to their new surroundings than it’ll take you.
Selling a home with kids isn’t always easy, but having a real estate agent you can trust by your side during this process can take the edge off for the entire family. Still haven’t found an agent that understands your needs? Contact Perfect Agent for recommended agents in your area.